Cut through the BS! – Here's what you need to know about band saw guides

Cut through the BS! – Here's what you need to know about band saw guides

The pros and cons of all the common types of guides and guide blocks so you can choose for yourself!
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  1. Tyler Fu on August 25, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    I used to have a cheap bandsaw that came with bearing guides. I thought it was too good to be true, and it was. That saw was nothing but frustration and blades seems to break early even though it had 14 inch wheels. When I tried to resaw with it, the bearing guide exploded on me, with ball bearings raining all over the place. I had to get them replaced with a high quality bearing. Then the "rack and pinion" guard adjustment was stuck, completely, so much so I was unable to raise or lower them at all. The guide, guard, and the entire mechanism is a one piece aluminum extrusion that made blade change very difficult. I ended up ripping out the entire rack and pinion system (very hard to do, everything fits with such tight tolerance, and this is why they got stuck).

    I was glad to get rid of the saw after I had bought a 26" bandsaw.

  2. Patrick Martel on August 25, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    I have a 28-200 from Rockwell and I did a bering upgrade but the thing i’ve bought dosent fit well what should I buy then if I do a lot of resaw ? My saw was extended to 14 inch as well.

  3. Clarklee on August 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    I use an 1941 Craftsman 12" Band Saw. It works very well especially after replacing the original Spring! But the guides are round not square. any ideas of how to make round guides out of newer material? The guides I have are copper. Thanks for your helpful videos.

  4. Robert Berta on August 25, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    I do both wood working as well as metal working (metal lathe and milling machine). My Wilton 14" band saw has a geared as well as belt reduction setup so can go from around 50 sifm to 3200….this lets me cut wood as normal but also aluminum and steel in thicker pieces…1" – 2". That saw came with Cool blocks on side and ball bearing on rear top and bottom. Never had any problems with those materials or breaking blades or premature wear. Also has a 12" resaw capacity. My other small bandsaw used only for woodworking has ball bearings and did need to replace them once as they wore out….but I am wondering if the cool stop would be the best when dealing with cutting metals like i do…no problems thus far and accuracy is good for resaw and drift not an issue. I suspect cutting metal might be rougher on ball bearing gjuides but no evidence one way or the other. I do know that you need high quality double sealed
    ZZ rated bearings.

  5. codprawn on August 25, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    I have a Startrite 24" 10 speed bandsaw – the big brother of the one used by This Old Tony. I use it on metals and wood. It has solid cast iron blocks with a slot in them for the blade.
    The accuracy is incredible. I can cut steel to within a tenth – that is milling machine accuracy out of a bandsaw. Love it. Old British iron at it’s best.

  6. Matthew Weerts on August 25, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    I’m looking for brand recommendations for upgrading to roller guides in my 14” Jet. Any thoughts from anyone?

  7. Jeffrey Hill on August 25, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    My 16 year old daughters do resaw from home and make a killing and do pretty large production. They use carbide blades and haven’t had to change or sharpen on either of the 3 saws in 18 months so far and for blocks they use a composite material that is from a structure on a US fighter jet that my step father brought home a large block of that was waste. Running a FLIR on the blade it runs much cooler than cool blocks is almost dead silent and the stuff machines great. I’m not sure what’s in it but I know there is carbon fiber and kevlar amongst other things. I would be worried about fumes if they didn’t have a super well ventilated shop. But the stuff is a miracle product I’m just not sure it’s all that readily available 😉

  8. Robert Hardy on August 25, 2023 at 6:34 pm

    If you are going to upgrade bearings go for properly sealed bearings ( 2 RS in the designation) and go fora higher quality version – the tolerances are tighter and they run better. If you can buy stainless steel versions so much the better.

  9. Young film maker on August 25, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    You sold me Stumpy. Just pulled the trigger on the Harvey…using your link of course. Thank you for all the great videos over the years. 👍🏼

  10. Brian Thorstad on August 25, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    Fantastic quality! As always.

  11. sparky John on August 25, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    Benefiting from many Youtube videos tutorials on bandsaw guides, I have summarised the two basic requirements for blade guides: providing the best support to the blade and minimising the fiction. These two requirements sometimes are a trade of…. Have anyone thought of changing their metal bearing guide to using ceramic bearings. The rear bearing also should have the orientation of a thrust bearing so the blade has more support at the back. As the bearings are moving with self lubricating body in contact with the blade, this seems to provide the maximum support and minimum fiction. I bought a set of cheap after market metal bearing guide and tried it, it seems to work.

  12. Larry Fulton on August 25, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    I have a 9” Ryobi, samall one car garage shop. My 1/2” 24th I blade just left burn marks on the wood I cut, not sure if it was because of a dull blade or was I putting too much pressure on pushing the wood through the cut.

  13. Gregarious WoodWorks on August 25, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Very cool explanation. Now to weigh my options!

  14. Austin on August 25, 2023 at 6:45 pm

    The only band saw I ever used had wood blocks. I thought it was weird.

  15. jaime chavez on August 25, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for videos especially for wana be wood crafts guy like me? Just picked up a old 1950’s Delta 10" band saw for pretty much nothing and wondering if it’s worth the $25.00 I spent on it?

  16. Me Myself and I on August 25, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    I have brass (blocks) came with the old saw.. never had an issue.

  17. stephen on August 25, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    James, you need more planes.

  18. Dennis Dolan on August 25, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    I have a Delta BS100. Where can I get "cool blocks"?

  19. Robert Bankhead on August 25, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    Are you reading my mind? Ha, was having a bit of trouble with cool blocks this week. Good timing!

  20. John Coriasco on August 25, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    Can you change the upper blade guides and leave the old bottom blade guards ? I have an old 12 inch craftsman 113.24350

  21. Johnathan Keller on August 25, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for all of your advice

  22. Stumpy Nubs on August 25, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    When you use this link to visit our sponsor, you support us►
    Harvey Woodworking Machinery:
    Subscribe (free) to Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal e-Magazine►

  23. jim graham on August 25, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    Trying to decide on which type of bandsaw I need. Have an old but very well cared for Delta table saw I need to sell before I make a purchase. Good article on guides.

  24. Light Print on August 25, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    I am a sculptor and see the need for a bands saw for a large variety of projects, with materials from steel to perspex, i am looking at used saws. it might be outside the breif of wood work yet I am curoius on advice about used saws and managing different wood and materials, and yes ill look at your teeth guide 🙂 thanks from Australia

  25. Phil Raymond on August 25, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Would love to see a tutorial on proper tensioning of bandsaw blades.

  26. Cyril Norrie on August 25, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for your thorough explanation of guides. You are good at explaining your subjects and making it easy to understand. Great job!

  27. Steve Bibby on August 25, 2023 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you this was the best information anywhere on blade guides and has helped me make a much more informed choice. I am a classical guitar maker and I am looking for a small benchtop machine to cut literally 2mm x 40 cm straight strips from veneer logs ….I was prioritising bearing guides in my selection process….but it seems thats not the issue for my precise thin straight cuts 🙂

  28. Thomas Bridges on August 25, 2023 at 7:01 pm

    Ordering a Harvey C14 Amdoing

  29. Sean Weeks on August 25, 2023 at 7:01 pm

    Does the increased noise in bearing guides actually matter? In other words, would bearing guides require hearing protection while cool blocks not?

    Also, what makes a "high quality bearing" in this context? Back in the skateboarding days, it was the higher the ABEC, the better the bearing.

  30. Jack Trotter on August 25, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    When making a DYI inverted JIGSAW insert, what size bearing sleeve should be used (over a 5/16 bolt ). To go into a thrust bearing ? Do you have preference on bearing brand for this type project?! Great video thanks
    Jack in Idaho

  31. Steve Jensen on August 25, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    How do you like your Harvey bandsaw? I have the Harvey table saw with the TiN table and like it very much but am leaning to towards the Laguna 14/12 bandsaw. Your thoughts would be appreciated! Merry Christmas!

  32. MrRogerpettersson on August 25, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    THanks, this was very helpful for me and my crappy bandsaw!! it explains some of my issues!

  33. Rocksteady / Roxoriginal on August 25, 2023 at 7:06 pm


  34. Rob Webster on August 25, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    Used Lignum Vitae for last 25+ years on my Delta 14”, just upgrading to the bearings on the Harvey …. fine then, upgrading the whole machine ..

  35. Robert Bartholomew on August 25, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    could wood and tar build up on the the bearings warp the blade front to back. my blade came off not broken but warped the blade front to back making the blade useless and un fixable

  36. max wang on August 25, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    Nice vid. Thanks.

    7:07 My saw has the similar guide. I don’t understand why the only ball bearing behind guiding the back of the blade is fitted that way? Strange! That’s not the way a ball bearing intended to work. Do you see what I mean?

  37. tony me on August 25, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    shopsmith is a excellent tools had one for years a have other tools too i know you did not knock them but for some people they are good a very well made tools

  38. Ed Reusser on August 25, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    As I may have previously posted, I was in the market for a bandsaw when I saw this video and bought an ambassador the next time it was on sale. I have the smaller 14" model, so it’s possible I will upgrade in the future, but based on my experience with the ambassador, it will most certainly be another Harvey.

  39. SierraHunter on August 25, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    I use hardwood (bocote or purpleheart) for my guide blocks from my scraps, quick and easy to cut with my bandsaw…😉

  40. alju832 on August 25, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    I have an old Delta Rockwell band saw. What blade guide would be the best for this saw? How much height of cut do you lose by adding the guide? Thanks for your information. I am new to woodworking and really appreciate your videos.

  41. joseph keo arthur on August 25, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    is the Harvey the same as a Laguna?

  42. The Hunter on August 25, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    As always, concise, helpful info. Thanks, James!

  43. Alex Yusupov on August 25, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Hello and thank you for your time. I am considering to upgrade to Harvey C14 band saw. Do you have any experience with it? I like the brand. Bought table saw from them and it’s a beauty to work with. Would really appreciate your input. Thanks

  44. Mick Julian on August 25, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    a very useful and to the point video, thank you.

  45. Rob Wood on August 25, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    Great information. Well presented. Thank you.

  46. Chris Waldron on August 25, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    I bought an 18” Harvey about this time last year (in Oz) gotta say, it’s a beautiful machine

  47. mAdcAp Malkmus on August 25, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    Are you reading this comment?

  48. 2 2 on August 25, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    Unfortunately, when you don’t have the spare 2k to spend on a *good* get what I got from everybody’s favorite ‘average Joe’ tool place & I think I could *chew* a better cut with my teeth!😢 Anyone wanna donate an old reliable saw to a worthy gal just trying to cut small pieces for whittling..? 😁 🤷🏻‍♀️

  49. James Nasmith on August 25, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    As usual this is a clear, well paced, concise but info-packed presentation.

  50. Trigger TheSound on August 25, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Why the silly hat? Just curious why people wear hats inside.